Thursday, August 19, 2010

More Facebook Privacy Nonsense (Or How to Disable Facebook Places)

You may or may not have heard but Facebook is currently in the middle of rolling out a new feature on their site, Facebook Places, that automatically allows your friends to know where it is that you're currently at (a bar, the grocery store, your home) at all times of the day via your mobile device's GPS. This is an exciting and welcome addition for users who feel like they need even more excuses to let you know what it is they're doing or thinking throughout every moment of their incredibly important lives. It's also a welcome feature for folks who have been patiently waiting for years to share even more of their personal information with a large marketing company whose revenues exceed one billion dollars annually.
The best part, of course, is that the site's programmers have been kind enough to automatically sign you up for it. The settings aren't quite as horrible as they could be (and when I say that I mean that they're not set up so that everyone on the internet can view your location), but there are still a few things you'll need to change with your settings to turn the feature off completely. Here's how to do it:

1) Once you've got yourself logged-in you'll need to click on "Account" on the upper-righthand part of the screen and then click on "Privacy Settings."

2) From this page you'll need to click on the "Custom" option and then the "Customize Settings" link listed below all of the site's features. If you haven't gone through to check your privacy settings in awhile, now would be a good time to do so.

3) The first section of the page lists the things that you share with others. The first thing you'll need to do is change your "Places I check in" option. It should be set at "Friends Only" by default so you'll need to click on "Customize" and then change it to "Only Me."

4) Below "Places I check in" you'll sea a box next to the option "Include me in 'People Here Now' after I check in." Make sure to disable this.

5) On the second section of the page you'll see what information your friends are allowed to share. Go to "Friends can check me in to Places" and disable it.

6) Finally, go back to your "Privacy Settings" page and click on "Edit your settings" under "Applications and Websites" in the lower-lefthand corner. In the "Info accessible through your friends" click "Edit Settings." Anything here with a checkmark next to it is information about you that is available to applications that your friends, not you, use. It's best to uncheck them all but the "Places" option should be the very last one on the right.

I hope that helps at least a few of you out. If you have any questions about any of these steps, please don't hesitate to ask for assistance. You can find the original post of this entry here if you would like to share this with friends.